Counseling Resorces and Concealed Weapons Dominate First Campus Safety Public Hearing

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The Chancellor’s campus safety taskforce held its first public hearing this evening at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College.

Two main issues dominated the comments made to the panel:  counseling resources and the posession of concealed weapons on campus.

A psychiatric nursing teacher talked about the challenges of helping students who are in need of counseling – but the processes and resources simply don’t exist to assist them.  “The school of nursing is stressful, “she said.  “We’ve had a student commit suicide after threatening faculty members.  What should we do?  Our hands are tied.”

A leader of the Citizens Defense League urged the panel to pursue only policies that would allow students, faculty and staff members over the age of 21, who have obtained handgun training and a concealed carry permit to carry their guns on campus.  “You should be allowed to save yourself,” he said.  “No one should be expelled or fired for carrying a gun.  Adults shouldn’t be put in a place to die.”

That drew a response a response from a former U.S. Marine turned community college student. “I have a concealed carry permit but this is a learning environment,” she said.  “I don’t want to know that twenty people can just open fire if something happens.  Not everyone is accurate.”

Additional speakers also touched on the need for the police and security forces of Virginia’s 23 Community Colleges to communicate better and share best practices and retaining student records longer than currently done.

The taskforce next meets Tuesday, October 9 at Northern Virginia Community College’s Annandale Campus at the Ernst Center, in the Forum.  The meeting will occur from 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm.  The session will begin with a brief welcome and introduction from the taskforce and then focus on public comments.  To ensure as many people as possible can speak to the taskforce, a time limit may be placed on individual comments.

If you would like to send comments to the taskforce, you can do via a dedicated email address:  myvoice@vccs.edu.

Posted by Jeff Kraus

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